Apr/May 2012: Latest News from the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (v2)

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Latest news from the Cotswolds Conservation Board

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Strategic management and planning

Have your say on the future of the Cotswolds AONB

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is inviting you to have your say on how the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is managed in the future.

The Cotswolds AONB Management Plan, which is under review, provides information on a number of different aspects of the AONB including planning, transport, tourism, recreation, historic buildings and biodiversity to help guide the management of the AONB over the next five years. The new plan, which will come into effect in April 2013, has identified a range of key issues and policies covering each of these and other topics. Members of the public are now being invited to put forward their thoughts on whether they agree or disagree with the content of the plan.

Follow the link to find out more about how to respond to the Management Plan draft, including details of the online survey.

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Conservation

New Rural Skills Programme 2012

Following on from last year's successful rural skills programme where we helped train more people than ever before in a variety of rural crafts and skills, this year a brand new programme is on offer.

In addition to the many popular dry stone walling courses available at both beginner and intermediate level, this year's summer programme also features blacksmithing taster days at Northleach, plus green woodworking and charcoal making in the ancient woodland of 'Heartwood', Limpley Stoke near Bath. Traditional lime mortar courses for the repair and maintenance of Cotswold stone buildings are also available.

Courses in the forthcoming Autumn/Winter programme include Hedgelaying, Woodland Management & Coppicing, and Traditional Hurdle Making.

Don't forget, you can buy gift vouchers for all our rural skills courses online!

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Advice available

Did you know....

.....rural businesses and farms in the Cotswolds AONB can now access a specialist advice service to help them reduce their carbon footprint and costs. The Cotswolds Conservation Board with support from National Grid has appointed a Climate Change Advisor to help promote and deliver a wide range of resource management and renewable energy activities.

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....we can offer advice on managing ancient woodland for wildlife and timber; help with writing and implementing the Forestry Commission's English Woodlands Grant Scheme and provide up to date advice on deer management in woodlands.

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Seven Springs gets a face-lift

The Seven Springs, a well known landmark just off the junction of the A436 and A435 near Cheltenham, has had a major facelift. Coberley Parish Council, the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens and Gloucestershire County Council Highways have worked together to replace the kerb, delineate the verge with stones to prevent lorries churning up the grass, survey and subsequent removal of two dangerous trees and clearance of rubbish and rubble. The dry stone wall has been restored with assistance from the National Grid Dry Stone Walling Fund, The Friends of the Cotswolds and the Voluntary Wardens Countryside Fund.

Seven Springs, claimed as the ‘highest source of the Thames’, is the source of the River Churn and a well used lay-by for walkers and is a the start point for one of the Cotswold Way circular walks.


Understanding and enjoying

Cotswolds Discoverer launched

The Cotswolds Discoverer is a new, integrated bus-and-train ticket aimed at encouraging more visitors to use public transport to both get to, and around, this famous UK tourism hotspot.

The ticket provides unlimited rail travel (not valid before 08.50, Mondays to Fridays) in and around the Cotswolds, including Swindon, Kemble, Stroud, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Ashchurch and on the North Cotswold Line between Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh.  It also provides unlimited bus travel with participating operators: Cotswold Green, Johnsons Excelbus, Pulhams Coaches, RH Transport and Swanbrook.

The initiative has been developed by the Cotswolds Conservation Board with First Great Western, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire County Councils, Cotswolds Tourism and local bus operators - and will initially run for a trial period of 6 months, until October 2012.  It is then hoped that operators will continue to operate the scheme in the future, with a view to enhancing the offer further by incorporating discounted entry into attractions and extending the area of coverage.

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Escape to the Cotswolds centre opens for third season

The Escape to the Cotswolds discovery centre at Northleach has opened its doors for a third season and is looking forward to welcoming even more people through its doors to help them discover the fascinating story of the Cotswolds.

The centre, housed in the 18th century Old Prison in Northleach, allows visitors easy access to view one of the original cell blocks, along with the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection.

A bid by the Friends of the Cotswolds to invest in and secure the future of the building is currently being evaluated by Cotswold District Council, following the launch of the Friends’ fundraising campaign earlier this year. The campaign aims to build on the success of ‘Escape’, developing a centre of excellence for rural skills training and renewable energy demonstration, as well as significantly enhancing the range of interactive materials and exhibits for visitors to learn more about the AONB.

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Vote for your Seven Wonders of the Cotswolds

Following the Board's public appeal to help compile the ‘Seven Wonders of the Cotswolds’ list, an overwhelming number of nominations have been received and a public vote has now been launched to determine the final seven.

The quest to find the Cotswolds' wonders has fired up the public's imagination, resulting in a long list of over 80 nominations.

To vote for your favourite final seven, view the full list at: www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/wonders, then email your seven choices to info@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk, no later than 1 June.  The final seven will be announced shortly afterwards.


The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside in England and Wales. It is designed to help people to respect, protect and enjoy the countryside, making clear what the responsibilities are for both the public and the people who manage the land.

Natural England has relaunched the Countryside Code. The refreshed version gives updated advice on rights of way, controlling dogs around livestock and wildlife, and preventing fires.

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People and communities

Funding for projects available

The Cotswolds AONB Sustainable Development Fund is open for new project applications this year.  Funding of up to £13,000 is available to projects which can provide a clear benefit to the AONB, with particular focus on the environment, community and local economy. Applicants are not required to be based in the AONB, however, all projects must be able to demonstrate the positive impacts on the Cotswolds.

For further information, contact David Molloy or telephone: 01451 862000.

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Alfred Toepfer Medal - call for nominations

The EUROPARC Federation has a unique opportunity to honour the achievements of the unsung heroes who have made a significant contribution to nature conservation and protected areas through the awarding of the Alfred Toepfer medal 

If you know of anyone who you think deserves recognition for their dedication to or achievements in the field of nature protection please send information about the person, his/her achievements and reasons why you think they should win the accolade by email to office@europarc.org. The deadline for nominations is Friday 27th July 2012.

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